Chief Sports Correspondent, Asia
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Jun 5, 2014

Cahill still a talisman for rank outsiders Australia

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Tim Cahill still belies his diminutive stature with his ability to leap above defenders and get his head on the ball and Australia hopes he will similarly help the Socceroos confound their lowly standing in Brazil. The hard-tackling attacking midfielder will be playing inhis third World Cup but Australia go to the 2014 finals as rankoutsiders in one of the toughest first-round groups with worldand European champions Spain, Netherlands and Chile. At 34, Cahill is winding down his career at the New York RedBulls after spending 14 years in England, first with Millwalland then Everton, but he remains a talismanic figure for hiscountry as well as Australia’s most prolific goal-scorer.

When Ange Postecoglou was appointed coach in October andpromised to give a new generation of players their chance,nobody for one second thought that Cahill would be among the oldguard dispatched into retirement. Two goals in a friendly against Ecuador in London in Marchmade him his country’s top marksman and he added another in the “farewell” warm-up game against South Africa in Sydney to give him a tally of 32 in 68 appearances.

Jun 5, 2014

Pride in Australia drives Socceroos coach Postecoglou

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is not heading to Brazil looking for excuses despite being handed the reins just eight months before the World Cup with the Socceroos apparently in disarray. Any reasonable observer would think he could claim a few ifAustralia disappoint, not least because they are the lowest-ranked team and have been grouped with world championsSpain, 2010 runners-up the Netherlands and Chile. To look for explanations of failure before a sportingcontest is distinctly un-Australian, however, and although hewas born in Greece, Postecoglou is a “true blue” Aussie. After the three-year reign of German technocrat HolgerOsieck, the fact that the 48-year-old was home-grown was a keyfactor when Football Federation Australia gave him a five-yearcontract last October. “My hope and my belief is that we can restore pride to thenational team and our national team jersey,” Postecoglou said atthe news conference on his appointment. “I really want to sell hope to people who love football, butmore importantly, love our nation.” Another factor in his appointment was the reputation he hadearned over 17 years in coaching for rebuilding teams andgetting them to play in an adventurous, attacking style.

LURED AWAY

The Brisbane Roar squad he overhauled won successiveA-League titles in 2011 and 2012 and he had started a similarrejuvenation project at the Melbourne Victory before he waslured to the Socceroos. Postecoglou’s overseas experience is limited to a shortstint at small Greek club Panachaiki and he has described hisseven years in charge of the Australia youth team as his “PhD incoaching”. He embraced his new job with bullish enthusiasm, promisingto give Australia’s youth its chance after Osieck was perceivedto have failed to oversee a transition from the generation thattook Australia to the last two World Cups. With just a handful of friendlies to turn around thefortunes of a side hammered 6-0 by Brazil and France last year,Postecoglou could be forgiven for preferring to focus on winningthe Asian Cup on home soil next January. That, however, would be to underestimate his competitivedrive. “This could be my only shot at a World Cup, I’m not going togive it away for anything and I don’t think we should as anation,” he said after the draw in December. “If we want to do well in the Asian Cup, then we need astrong World Cup to build a foundation and give our players theright kind of experience.”

Jun 5, 2014

Australia face damage limitation exercise in Brazil

SYDNEY (Reuters) – As the lowest-ranked team heading for Brazil, Australia’s fourth trip to the World Cup was always going to be a challenge even before lady luck abandoned them in December’s tournament draw. World champions Spain and the Netherlands, who fought out the 2010 final, plus South American powerhouse Chile, presented the worst scenario for a nation with a newly-appointed coach and a squad in transition. Australia’s sporting culture is that their teams fightagainst the odds to the bitter end, but it is difficult to seethe Socceroos coming back from Brazil with anything much betterthan humiliation avoided. After scrapping through Asian qualifying under Holger Osieck, spiritless displays in successive 6-0 friendlydefeats by Brazil and France led to the dismissal of theGerman last October. Football Federation Australia (FFA) decided to go local forhis replacement, handing Ange Postecoglou a five-year contract and a mission to make Australia the number one team in Asia.

Postecoglou had three friendlies – a 1-0 win over CostaRica, a 4-3 loss to Ecuador and a 1-1 draw with South Africa – to assess the talent at his disposal in an international context before selecting his 23 players for Brazil.He drew the net wide, keeping tabs on some 40 to 45players. They included the last remnants of Australia’s “goldengeneration”, a raft of youngsters plying their trade on thefringes of big clubs or in the lower leagues in Europe, and another group drawn from the improving domestic A-League. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, a veteran of two World Cups and109 internationals, made at least one decision for the new coachby retiring on the eve of his first squad announcement. Long-term team captain Lucas Neill was determined to play in a third successive finals but he got the dreaded omission phone call before the 30-man World Cup squad was selected, leaving Tim Cahill as the best-known veteran of the 2006 and 2010 campaigns.

Jun 5, 2014

Soccer-World-Cahill still a talisman for rank outsiders Australia

SYDNEY, June 5 (Reuters) – Tim Cahill still belies his diminutive stature with his ability to leap above defenders and get his head on the ball and Australia hopes he will similarly help the Socceroos confound their lowly standing in Brazil.

The hard-tackling attacking midfielder will be playing in his third World Cup but Australia go to the 2014 finals as rank outsiders in one of the toughest first-round groups with world and European champions Spain, Netherlands and Chile.

Jun 5, 2014

Soccer-World-Pride in Australia drives Socceroos coach Postecoglou

SYDNEY, June 5 (Reuters) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is not heading to Brazil looking for excuses despite being handed the reins just eight months before the World Cup with the Socceroos apparently in disarray.

Any reasonable observer would think he could claim a few if Australia disappoint, not least because they are the lowest-ranked team and have been grouped with world champions Spain, 2010 runners-up the Netherlands and Chile.

Jun 5, 2014

Soccer-World-Australia face damage limitation exercise in Brazil

SYDNEY, June 5 (Reuters) – As the lowest-ranked team heading for Brazil, Australia’s fourth trip to the World Cup was always going to be a challenge even before lady luck abandoned them in December’s tournament draw.

World champions Spain and the Netherlands, who fought out the 2010 final, plus South American powerhouse Chile, presented the worst scenario for a nation with a newly-appointed coach and a squad in transition.

Jun 2, 2014

Re-run 2022 vote if corruption proved: Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) – The vote for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup must be re-run if corruption allegations surrounding Qatar’s winning campaign are proved to be accurate, Lord Goldsmith, a member of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee, said on Monday.

A British newspaper on Sunday claimed it had evidence that around $5 million was paid to officials in return for votes for Qatar’s successful bid, allegations organizers have “vehemently” denied.

Jun 2, 2014

2022 vote must be re-run if corruption proved – Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) – The vote for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup must be re-run if corruption allegations surrounding Qatar’s winning campaign are proved to be accurate, Lord Goldsmith, a member of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee, said on Monday.

A British newspaper on Sunday claimed it had evidence that around $5 million (3 million pounds) was paid to officials in return for votes for Qatar’s successful bid, allegations organisers have “vehemently” denied.

Jun 2, 2014

2022 World Cup vote must be re-run if corruption proved – Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) – The vote for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup must be re-run if corruption allegations surrounding Qatar’s winning campaign are proved to be accurate, Lord Goldsmith, a member of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee, said on Monday.

A British newspaper on Sunday claimed it had evidence that around $5 million was paid to officials in return for votes for Qatar’s successful bid, allegations organisers have “vehemently” denied.

Jun 2, 2014

Soccer-2022 vote must be re-run if corruption proved – Goldsmith

LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) – The vote for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup must be re-run if corruption allegations surrounding Qatar’s winning campaign are proved to be accurate, Lord Goldsmith, a member of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee, said on Monday.

A British newspaper on Sunday claimed it had evidence that around $5 million was paid to officials in return for votes for Qatar’s successful bid, allegations organisers have “vehemently” denied.

    • About Nick

      "Nick recently moved into his new role in Sydney after five years in China, where he covered the run-up to the Beijing Olympics and the growth of the world's most populous country as a sporting superpower. In more than a decade at Reuters, Nick has reported on a wide variety of events, from the sedate confines of the All England Club to the rarified atmosphere of Everest Base Camp for the ascent of the Olympic flame."
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